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Pedestrian Killed on Interstate 35W

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for civil law.jpegShortly after she was ejected from her vehicle in a crash, an eighteen-wheeler ran over a woman on the highway.

The wreck occurred on I-35W near Ripy. According to police and witnesses, a woman hit a retaining wall, disabling her vehicle. A second vehicle t-boned her. The force of that collision ejected her onto the road, where an onrushing tractor-trailer overran her. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other people were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

None of the names were released.

Multiple Impact Wrecks and Foreseeability

These kinds of crashes are not too unusual. For example, a tortfeasor (negligent driver) may rear-end a vehicle waiting to make an unprotected left turn, thus pushing the first vehicle into oncoming traffic.

In situations like these, either a Tarrant County jury or a Fort Worth personal injury attorney must decide which driver is legally responsible for the crash. Usually, foreseeability is the key question.

An interesting case called Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Company provides the rule in these cases. Ms. Palsgraf and her daughters were waiting for a train to take them to Coney Island. As they waited, on the other end of the platform, a late-arriving passenger, whom witnesses said was overweight, tried to board a departing train. One railroad worker tried to pull the man into the car, and another one pushed him from behind.

In all the commotion, the man dropped a package of fireworks. When those fireworks exploded, the shock wave knocked a large set of scales onto Ms. Palsgraf. She sued the railroad company to obtain compensation for her injuries.

The court later ruled that the railroad owner was not responsible for Ms. Palsgraf's wounds, because there was not a close enough link between the jostled passenger, which was clearly negligent, and her injuries.

Put another way, if one car strikes another one, careens off the road, and hits a pedestrian, that injury is foreseeable. But if a doctor makes a medical mistake at the hospital, that injury is not foreseeable, even though the accident indirectly caused that medical mistake.

Texas is a modified joint and several liability state. So, if there are multiple tortfeasors, the jury must apportion fault among them on a percentage basis.

It is not always easy to determine legal responsibility in car crash claims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. You have a limited amount of time to act.

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